Copper Queen Community Hospital in Bisbee is within the planning levels of a $10 million project to increase its surgical division.
The hospital’s build-up comes at a time when some rural hospitals can’t keep open, like within the latest closure of a hospital in Green Valley. The pandemic has additionally magnified the determined want for extra medical professionals in rural areas, as reported by The Arizona Republic final year.
Copper Queen CEO Robert Seamon stated with the hospital’s present measurement, it’s restricted in providers it will possibly supply attributable to an absence of space. However, the hospital has massive plans for its expansion and elevated providers will probably be capable of present to southern Arizona residents.
The essential hospital is in Bisbee, and it has 4 rural well being clinics all through Cochise County situated in Douglas, Palominas, Tombstone and Bisbee. The hospital serves communities stretching from southern Sierra Vista to Douglas and Tombstone.
With the expansion, the hospital will be capable of add extra surgeons and increase the specialties the hospital already has, stated Seamon.
“In orthopedics right now, we don’t do any total joint replacements: no hip replacements, knee replacements, etc.” Seamon stated. “We don’t have the space and facilities for it, but with this new expansion we will be able to offer those services.”
The hospital additionally will be capable of add an adjoining endoscopy unit, he stated.
The surgical expansion, which must be accomplished over the following two and a half years, just isn’t the one change the hospital has began implementing during the last couple years as a part of its Master Facility Plan.
In mid-August, the hospital added a 3D state-of-the-art mammography unit permitting screening and diagnostic testing providers, which beforehand would have been carried out in a much bigger hospital in a bigger space, like Tucson.
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Additionally, Copper Queen Community Hospital opened a brand new outpatient bodily remedy clinic in Bisbee, and a rural well being clinic in Tombstone. The hospital additionally bought a clinic in Hereford.
Every further service a hospital gives signifies that sufferers can keep nearer to residence, an enormous profit when a barrier to well being care entry is usually transportation, in response to specialists within the business.
“Transportation is difficult even for us to provide local access to care,” Seamon stated. “When you have to go to Sierra Vista, Tucson or Phoenix, that can be a real heavy burden on people.”
Tucson, which has the larger hospital, is about an hour and a half drive from Bisbee and a further half hour from Douglas.
The Copper Queen Community Hospital is attempting to maintain care native, Seamon stated.
This is exemplified not solely by means of rural well being clinics unfold out by means of the county but additionally the hospital’s visiting medical professionals.
Seamon stated the hospital has bodily therapists that go to sufferers of their properties, in addition to a visiting nurse program based mostly out of Douglas that enables nurses from the Douglas rural well being clinic to additionally go to sufferers of their properties.
Funding for the surgical procedure unit expansion comes from a USDA grant that the hospital’s basis, the Copper Queen Community Hospital Foundation utilized for. Previous expansion actions got here from money the hospital already had out there, in response to the hospital.
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The want for brand spanking new hospital amenities was made clear just a few years in the past when the power’s growing old buildings wanted to get replaced, Seamon stated, noting some buildings have been constructed 30 years in the past.
The hospital additionally performed a neighborhood well being wants evaluation to find what the neighborhood requires in regard to well being care. Mental well being providers and primary major care providers have been on the prime of that record.
Seamon additionally highlighted the excessive prevalence of diabetes locally and a necessity for colon most cancers screenings, cervical screenings and mammograms.
To deal with the psychological well being wants, Seamon stated the hospital has a psychiatric nurse practitioner and the group is trying to find one other psychological well being supplier.
Retention, recruitment are the ‘biggest challenges’ to rural healthcare
Copper Queen Community Hospital appears to be bucking the nationwide development of rural hospital closures.
Dr. Daniel Derksen, a public well being professor and the Walter H. Pearce Endowed chair and director of the Arizona Center for Rural Health on the University of Arizona, stated states that haven’t expanded Medicaid eligibility are inclined to have larger charges of rural hospital closures.
While Arizona has expanded its Medicaid eligibility, Derksen stated that Texas, which didn’t increase the eligibility, has one of many highest charges of rural hospital closures within the nation.
When hospitals deal with sufferers with out medical health insurance, the medical establishment should take in that uncompensated care, he stated.
Derksen famous that Arizona is fortunate sufficient to have expanded entry to Medicaid serving to individuals who can’t afford personal insurance coverage. This has been useful through the pandemic when many individuals lost their jobs and subsequently their job-sponsored medical health insurance.
However, as a result of Medicaid doesn’t pay as a lot a personal medical health insurance the hospitals with lot of sufferers that depend upon public insurance coverage applications “tend to be hospitals that struggle with having a positive fiscal margin,” Derksen stated.
Derksen famous that profitable rural hospitals, like Copper Queen Community Hospital, are inclined to increase their income portfolio by together with extra outpatient or ambulatory providers and having federally designated rural well being clinics.
These clinics are typically affiliated with vital entry hospitals, just like the Copper Queen Community Hospital. One profit to being a vital entry hospital, is entry to raised compensation from public payers like Medicare and Medicaid, Derksen stated.
According to Derksen, retention and recruitment are a few of the largest challenges within the discipline of rural healthcare.
When a rural hospital loses only one intensive care unit nurse, a doctor or basic surgeon, that may usually make or break the power of the hospital to remain open, he stated.
In addition, he stated with all of the state’s medical colleges based mostly in Tucson or close to Phoenix, in addition to the situation of “lucrative” medical positions additionally situated in these cities, rural areas are sometimes left underserved and with an absence of well being care suppliers.
Because the colleges are situated in these greater cities, and education for well being care professionals is lengthy. This signifies that younger medical professionals are sometimes constructing neighborhood and constructing their lives in these locations, making them much less more likely to go away and work in additional rural areas of the state, “where they are needed most,” Derksen stated
One answer, he stated, is including community-based experiential studying to the scholars’ medical coaching.
Students would obtain a portion of their coaching in rural communities “to better match where people get their health profession’s training with where they are needed,” Derksen stated, including that balancing coaching within the massive cities with coaching in rural areas, will increase the probability well being professionals will keep in additional rural communities.
To assist put medical professionals the place they’re desperately wanted, the state presents medical college students at Arizona’s medical colleges scholarships for promising to work in rural Arizona, as reported by The Republic in 2019.
Coverage of southern Arizona on azcentral.com and in The Arizona Republic is funded by the nonprofit Report for America in affiliation with The Republic.
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